NHS staff are warning patients to think twice before heading to A&E.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation trust said on Sunday that its A&E service at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, near Cramlington, was "very busy".

Staff took to Facebook to tell patients that A&E is intended for those in immediate need of critical or life-saving care.

"If you attend and are not assessed as being this you *will* face a long (6-8 hour) wait or be asked to use another service," they wrote.

This week a spokesman for the trust said the A&E service was still very busy, and patients were being advised, as always, not to use it as a walk-in service. 

Patients who are unsure on where they should go for treatment are being asked to ring NHS 111.